When you cast a ballot on Election Day, can you be sure your vote will count? Ohio is relying on “ancient” voting equipment to carry out that fundamental responsibility of democracy, says a Buckeye State native newly appointed to a federal commission that sets standards for voting devices. The iPhone was still two years in the future when most Ohio counties obtained their voting devices, said Matthew Masterson, a former top official with the Ohio secretary of state’s office who began work this week as one of four members of the federal Elections Assistance Commission. Even worse, Ohio’s setup is based on technology from the 1990s, he said yesterday during the Ohio Association of Election Officials’ winter conference at the Greater Columbus Convention Center. “Your voting technology is old. It’s ancient by technology standards,” said Masterson, who admits to being an elections geek. “I don’t know how old your office computer is, but I wouldn’t keep mine for a decade. And we’re asking people to run elections on it.”
Most states are facing similar problems, Masterson said. Typically, they used federal money made available after the 2000 presidential election debacle to buy new equipment. Now, it’s “almost an impossibility” that the federal government will provide more money. And many state and local governments are struggling.
… During a speech to the group a day earlier, Secretary of State Jon Husted said, “This is an issue we must keep at the forefront when we talk to those who budget at the federal, state and county level. Since none of us in this room are appropriators, we need to work to educate the people in our system who are, so they can have a full appreciation for the administrative and budgetary challenges that lay on the horizon.”